I am not a rebel; I like clear rules and to follow instructions. When I was (a lot) younger, I was afraid to stick out from the crowd. But – here I am with a sparkly, seasonal opportunity to take a risk and be as non-conformist as I like. So, loins girded, here I go... I absolutely love being a practice manager.
In fact, I feel that it has been my honour and privilege to do this job and make a difference to people’s lives: patients, GPs and staff alike. And there’s more. General practice in the UK is a wonderful service, provided by dedicated and committed people and I’m proud to work in it.
Sure, there are practices that are exceptions, and it’s right, of course, that the exceptions should be called to account. And there are the people we deal with whose behaviour leaves us running to our room to hide for a bit. But let’s look at the positives. What about starting right here: more than 8 out of 10 practices in England are rated “good” or “outstanding” by CQC. And this year, the last year of the Royal College of GPs’ Quality Practice Award, 14 practices have found success (and still coped with CQC as well!). On top of this, practice managers are leading their teams in federating, commissioning, developing services and transforming their delivery. Practice Manager leadership and support are vital in every practice and it’s important to remember the energy that goes into simply keeping some practices afloat in circumstances beyond their control.
So, what next? I was at the Management in Practiceconference in London in November and heard Virginia Patania from Tower Hamlets speaking about the challenges in her area and how they have been tackled head-on. In the new year, let’s try to stand up and be counted. Let’s take every opportunity to stick out from the crowd, shout about successes and celebrate what’s good about practice management and general practice.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Fiona Dalziel has been involved in primary healthcare management for 25 years.